By Naimat Khan
KARACHI: Thousands of Deobandi seminaries across Pakistan are considered source of electoral strength for the religious political party, JUI-F, but at least one of the major ones have chosen for the second time to announce its support to a liberal political party, it emerged on Thursday.
According to a statement issued by the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, Mufti Muhammad Naeem of Jamia Binoria Aalimiyah – an international Deobandi Islamic educational institute located in Karachi, Pakistan – has announced to support PPP in the local bodies’ elections to be held on 3rd of December, next month.
According to PPP, the party delegation visited Jamia Binoria Aalimiyah and held a meeting with its administrator Mufti Muhammad Naeem, who assured them of full support local government elections.
“On this occasion Mufti Naeem said that Karachi needed development and for this there was dire need to resolve the problems of people above the political affiliation” the statement quotes him as saying and adding the same thinking was stimulus behind supporting PPP.
On this occasion Senator Saeed Ghani – who was leading the delegation – thanked Mufti Naeem for his support and assured him that the PPP will live up to the exceptions of the people. “According to the manifesto of PPP, masses are the source of power and PPP with the force of masses will defeat the opponents” the statement reads.
The Seminary, situated at 12 acres, imparts education to about 8 thousands students, male and female and is considered one of the few major Madrassahs of the Deobandi school of thought.
Jamia Binoria Site – also known as Binoria University International and which was founded by the incumbent administrator Mufti Muhammad Naeem under the patronage of his father Qari Abdul Haleem in 1979 – had supported Muttahida Qaumi Movement in the 2008 general polls.
Instead of JUI-F, Mufti Naeem has always maintained good relations with Muttahida Qaumi Movement and PPP, source said. “This was the reason behind his announcement of support to MQM in 2008 and now PPP in 2015 local bodies’ polls”, a teacher associated with Madrassah said, recalling that when the MQM chief landed in hot waters for his condolence at the death of Sahibzadi Nasir Begum – wife of the chief of Jamaat-e- Ahmadiyya Mirza Masroor Ahmad, this was Mufti Naeem who issued a Fatwa in favor of MQM chief in July 2011.
Though many from his school of thought believed that the MQM chief Altaf Hussain had committed major sin by praying for a Qadianis, Mufti Naeem in his edict said MQM chief had done so in good faith and the same was not tantamount to belief of considering Qadiani as Muslims.
Mufti Naeem is also alleged of striking a secret deal between the MQM and owners of the Ali Enterprises, the garment factory which was put down to ashes with 258 people burnt alive. However, Naeem strongly rejects the allegations.
Though leaders of PPP have called it an achievement due to huge presence of the seminary’s students in Site Town, Wakeel Rehman, a senior reporter covering religious institutions and parties, downplays the importance of the support while citing some reasons.
“Religiously and academically the students and his religious followers follow Mufti Naeem but they pay least or no heeds to his political advices” said Rehman, adding the students have always supported JUI-F.
Published in The Frontier Post